If you are in charge of the social media strategy for your church and feel a little overwhelmed by how to reach more people and grow your church’s online audience then this 3-part article is for you! In Part 1, we shared how to put together a volunteer team and identify the audiences you want to reach. Now in Part 2, we will help you develop your action plan and pick the right social media channels to use to meet your goals.
Step 3: Develop your call to action
Now it’s time to be strategic and think about what you want people to do: How do you want them to react to what is posted on social media? Here are some questions to help you and your social media team get strategic:
What steps do you want them to take?
Steps can be small to start out with, like engaging with your content by liking, commenting or sharing it. It could also be something bigger like getting them to Follow your church page, show interest in an Event page you’ve set up, or visit a landing page on your website. Later on, you’ll need to find ways to measure how many people took these steps so you can evaluate how well your social media campaign is doing.
It’s important to think through these steps so you can make sure you are addressing the needs, interest and key life situations of the people you are trying to reach. Some churches call these intentional steps “Bridge Opportunities” or “Outreach Events”.
For example, many of the people who live in my neighborhood are struggling with debt and financial crisis, so there have been times when my church posts invitations on social media to join a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class. Not only that, we provide the steps necessary to help them register and get their materials, all through social media. We think through every little action we want them to take to get them plugged into that financial class and communicate it on social media as clearly as possible.
How can you help make it easy for them to act?
Here are some practical ways my church is using to make it easier for people to take the steps we want them to:
Facebook Event Pages
Facebook Event pages are like sign up forms for social media. You can add your church service or event’s address, meeting time, and provide updates throughout the week. Best of all, Event pages allow people to click the Interested or Attending buttons, which are the steps we want them to take.
Website Landing Page
If you’re using social media to send people to your church for a specific event, always use a specially-designed landing page instead of your site’s Home page. A landing page should be a unique page that talks specifically about your church’s event. For example, if you’re celebrating Back To Church Sunday, you should create a page that includes the promo video, a web banner, and plenty of sections and photos communicating what the event is, and how it can change the person’s life.
NOTE: If it’s not easy for you to create a landing page on your current site, consider changing web site services – click here to learn more.
Our church loves using online forms to encourage people to show interest and RSVP for events. For our small groups, we always post invitations on Facebook with a link taking the person directly to a sign up form on our website. If you don’t have a form on your website, there are plenty of free form services you can use like SurveyMonkey.com, Jotform.com or even Google Forms.
What will be the outcome?
List out the benefits that you want the people you reach to receive when they take these steps. For example, our families who are suffering because of financial challenges, we want to help them get back on their feet and be surrounded by people who will love and pray for them. Or maybe you would like to promote a marriage seminar to heal broken relationships. Or your Youth Group helps prevent bullying and helps young people make better choices. Whatever you want to bring to your community, make sure your team knows the goals – this will help with tracking results and keeping a focus on the end goals.
STEP 4: Determine the social platform based on need
Each social media platform has its own niche of what it’s trying to accomplish. Below is a quick overview of some of the most popular platforms of 2022 and how you can leverage them:
Facebook - how they can get involved
Facebook is ideal for communicating how people can interact with your church (through Post Likes, Comments, Shares, etc) or connect with your church (Events Page, Paid Ad, Messenger, etc).
Instagram - sharing your church’s story through image
People use Instagram to consume images around people, brands or products. In the case of the church, focusing on photos of a worship service, people greeting in the lobby, enjoying food over a small group, etc, would be a great place to share your church’s culture using photos.
YouTube - sharing your church story through video
YouTube is the number one social platform for a reason. Outside of it’s powerful video search engine, churches can use YouTube to host their video content for free. This is ideal when sharing video announcements, church building tours, and worship services.
Ticktock - Sharing your story quickly
Although still a relative newer in the social networking realm, Ticktock has quickly gained a huge following for it’s short video clips that users can post. Because so many young people use this platform, it might be more ideal for youth ministries who are wanting to engage more with teens.
Now that you have a great team in place and have laid the groundwork for reaching your audience with the right action plan, in Part 3 we will talk about how to develop content and track how well it’s working. You don’t want to miss these next steps so read on to Part 3 Coming Soon….
Isaac Cano is the Sites and Social Media Coordinator at Outreach Digital. He’s been involved in church ministry for 12 years and is passionate about helping pastors and church leaders reach more people in their community